Is It Right To Judge Others
Is It Biblical to Judge Others?
“Christians should not judge one another!” Many times I have had believer and unbeliever alike use this verse to defend their actions. In their view, Jesus is telling believers that they are not to judge what others are doing, because that is a private matter between the individual and God. However, is this understanding of Matthew 7:1 consistent with what Jesus was saying? The answer to this question is no, this is not what Jesus is trying to communicate.
Those who believe that Jesus is speaking against all judging are breaking one of the cardinal rules of correctly interpreting the Word of God. They are isolating the verse from its context and in doing so are misstating the intent of Jesus words for their own purposes.
All of us at one time or another have been misquoted by someone. They take only a portion of what we have said to make us say what they want us to say, not what we actually intended. I still remember receiving a phone call from an angry husband who told me I had no right to tell his wife the things I told her. After a little investigation, I found that what she had told her husbands was only parts of what I had said. When I filled in the context of my statements the husband quickly calmed down. You see his wife at a bone to pick with her husband and so she used only the parts of what I had said that got her message across. I was not pleased at what she had done and neither is God when people do the same thing with His Word.
All too often people fall into the trap of having their minds made up about what they believe before they approach the Bible. In doing so they seek to make the Bible say what they want it to say, not what it is designed to communicate. In studying the Bible we should be seeking to hear what God has to say. We should not be “putting words in God’s mouth!”. The way too avoid this danger is to always check out the context in which the words are spoken. Therefore lets go back to Matthew 7:1 and check out its context to see what Jesus intended to say.
First of all, the word Jesus uses in verse one for judgment does not mean a fair and unbiased evaluation, but rather a biased fault finding critical judgment. In other words, this individual is seeking or looking for all the faults in another person with the purpose of attacking or destroying his character. Jesus says there is no room for this type of judgment. In verse 2 Jesus gives a warning to those who practice this type of judgment. What goes around comes around. If you judge others that way expect that you will be judged in the same manner.
Secondly, in verses 3-5, Jesus illustrates his point. The one who is judging a brother with biased fault finding judgment is like a man with a massive beam in his eye trying to take a speck of dust out of his brother’s eye. Jesus says that the brother with the speck needs to have it removed but before that can happen, his brother needs to get rid of his ill feelings and approach his brother in love. With the beam gone he will be able to help his brother get the speck out of his eye.
Thirdly there other passages that confirm that as believers we are to seek to help others remove the sin in their lives in a loving and caring manner. Take for example the words of Paul and James.
Gal 6:1-2, “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
James 5:19-20, “Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.”
Fourthly, we need to make sure our judgment of others is based not our opinions but rather on what God has set as a standard. It is my responsibility to judge if a brother has fallen into a pattern of lying or gossip. However, it is not my responsibility to judge a brother if he chooses a different make of car than I drive. One is based on the standard of God’s Word, the other, the opinion of a fallible man.
As we study the Scriptures, let us be sure that the Scriptures are molding and shaping us as it is intended to do. Let us be care that we do not ignore the context in order to prove our opinions to others!